I knitted some things: a blog post in (mostly) pictures

Years and years and years ago when I lived in South Carolina, I came across a newspaper article in The State (or maybe The Free Times) about the South Carolina Knitting Guild.  I went to a meetup (before Meetup was a thing).  I got knitting lessons.  After that, it was scarves for everyone!

I gave knitting up for a while.  Who had the time?  I recently came back to it though, and I’ve been pursuing other textile/fiber related crafts like embroidery and crocheting and such.


Attempting to learn to crochet. Crocheted macarons

This return to knitting has a lot to do with my son and this book of sea creature patterns.


It’s fun to knit for kids.


Angler fish #1


Angler fish #2


Sea star


Eyeless octopus

knitted Hermit crab. In progress.

Hermit crab. In progress.

I’m also thinking a lot about the history of what’s considered to be feminine crafts thanks to conversations with other fiber/textile-loving friends and Margaret Wertheim, who visited The Steward School earlier in the year to talk about the Crocheted Coral Reef project, which got me thinking a lot about STEAM, interdisciplinary/transdisciplinary/multidisciplinary/whatnot studies, the importance of downtime, and the people who encourage and amplify our crazy “What if we did this…” ideas.

Like all summers, I have big plans for exploring questions.  One area of interest is the use of craft for social comment in both the past and present.



A maker’s gonna make

There’s a lot going on.  Academic Dean candidates are on campus and bringing with them a lot of interesting ideas and challenging questions.  One candidate said (more eloquently than I’m about to write) that she wants students to be dissatisfied with the world so that they are compelled to change it.  I’ve been thinking about that and what it means to ask questions and make things.  Mick Ebeling was also recently in Richmond, so there’s been a lot of buzz about Not PossibleI’ve been thinking about dissatisfaction, the pressure of bettering the world, the TED-ification of things, play versus “purpose” and “intentionality.”

I want to carve out a little time to reflect on it all and write things down, just because I think reflecting/writing will help me figure out some conflict I’m feeling.

But that will come later (I hope).

Maker kids keep making, and this is what they’re up to:

Students come up with ideas to put in a Bored Jar.  There are plans for both a physical and virtual Bored Jar.

Ideas for a "Bored Jar."

Ideas for a “Bored Jar.”

With some borrowed materials from the science department and cafeteria, students work on candied LEDs.

Candied LEDs in the works

Candied LEDs in the works

After re-working her circuit, this student gets the lights for her skyline going.

City Lights

City Lights

A reverse geocache box is in the works.

Reverse geocache box in the works

Reverse geocache box in the works

This student teaches himself to knit while waiting for a model to print on the Makerbot.  A visiting middle schooler (bottom right) looks on.  No time wasted.  Texting not allowed!

While waiting for something to print on the Makerbot...

While waiting for something to print on the Makerbot…

A student has watched a ton of Unity tutorials.  She created the landscape and added her first character.  In a blog post a student recently wrote:

I would first of all like to take the first bit of this blog post to thank the inventors of ‘how-to’ videos for simple origami structures. Aaron Rodgers may be the NFL MVP, but you know what? You’re the real MVP to me.


So true.  Tutorials are the MVP.



Some students have christened the small rehearsal/recording studio.  It is now “The Beats Lab.”  Some students are working with Ableton Live and an Akai midi pad to make some “sick beats.”  They’ve been calling on Bruce from the cafe to walk them through some of the software.  Bruce has mastered coffee and audio production.

In the Beats Lab

In the Beats Lab


Knitted nautiloids–better late than never

Last spring my son was fascinated with the Walking with Monsters: Life Before Dinosaurs series.  The fascination is understandable.  The first episode is full of giant sea scorpions, giant squids, and the biggest underwater pill bugs you’ve ever seen.

I got it in my head to knit him a giant squid.  After a little hunting online, I landed on this “George the Giant Squid” pattern even though it cost $6.  Knitting began back in late May/early June.

I really failed to document this making of this guy, but that happens.  Here are some highlights:

  • Some stitches were dropped in the making of the yet-to-be-named squid’s body.  Also, I’m not sure what I did to totally ignore the directions to make the top of his head.  Oh well.  Next time.
  • One is supposed to knit the arms in the round.  I didn’t, because I found it extremely tedious to knit a small number of stitches in the round.  I sewed the ends of the arms together
  • Because of dropped stitches, there were some noticeable holes in the body.  I patched these as best I could and then sewed an inside lining, which I stuffed.
  • I sewed the two tentacles and 8 arms together and then sewed that to the body.  There are actually seven arms.  I found a straggler on the sofa after sewing them to the body.  Again, oh well.  Next time.
  • My son insisted that I sew the mouth to the bottom of the squid where the mouth would actually be.  I talked him out of this.  I also ignored his request for a beak.  He didn’t seem too put out by it.  Next time.  Oh well.
Yet-to-be-named knitted Giant Squid

Yet-to-be-named knitted Giant Squid

Arms and tentacles

Arms and tentacles

I wish I had taken pictures of the sewn lining and other stuff, but most of my decisions with this project were spur-of-the-moment decisions or fixes based on preexisting knitting/sewing knowledge.

And there’s the interesting part (to me).

I’ve been knitting for about 15 years now and sewing for longer.  I don’t know everything there is to know about either craft, but I’m comfortable with them both.  I have the confidence and an understanding of the language to work through things I don’t know as I come to them.  I know enough to not think twice about veering from a pattern.  I know what makeshift fixes I can do when needed.

I appreciate this agility.

I don’t think the confidence and agility necessarily comes from the 15 years of “experience” though.  I think it’s from having a basic understanding of how knitting/sewing work, what the stitches do and how they look, etc.  I think the confidence comes from practicing and tinkering and making things.

So, yay.  Finished project.  Confidence.  Agility.  Comfort.